Recent developments in Cameroon show that the country is now steadily advancing with the building of a national REDD+ strategy. Progress with the creation of an all-important national framework for REDD+ implementation has to be taken step by step in order to allow stakeholder engagement and attention to the broader interests they represent.
IUCN is contributing to the REDD+ readiness process in Cameroon through the implementation of its pro-poor project that tries to ensure that interests and needs of forest-reliant communities are addressed in the national REDD+ strategy. It is key that the national framework not only provides for technical capacity building and technical aspects of carbon monitoring but that it also gives attention to the interests of indigenous peoples and other forest communities, their livelihoods and their rights.
After the World Bank approved Cameroon’s so-called ‘Readiness Program Idea Note’ (RPIN) in November 2010, the grant contract for funding from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank was accepted in December, thus clearing the way for Cameroon to start the development of the ‘Readiness Preparation Proposal’ (RPP). The launch of the RPP process was initially delayed because of procedural requirements but the funds are expected in April and the process will now start in earnest. The government of Cameroon is planning to use these funds not only on consultants but also on national workshops and consultations with civil society and indigenous peoples.
The pro-poor project is providing a focal point for a platform of REDD partners in Cameroon and has, together with the World Bank office in Yaoundé, intensified exchange with the Cameroon Government to push forward the REDD+ agenda. Eventually the government was able to device a road map for the elaboration of the plan. After a national launching workshop the following will be the next steps in the coming months:
May – June 2011: Production and circulation of the first RPP draft for inputs by partners with multi-stakeholder workshops
July – August. 2011: Production of a complete draft
September 2011: Validation workshop for the RPP document
September 2011: Submission of the RPP document.
It is an ambitious agenda for which the FCPF grant is not sufficient, in particular to make the RPP process fully participatory. IUCN’s pro-poor project and the World Bank team in Yaoundé have facilitated a series of discussions to define what additional contributions and inputs can be gathered to implement this agenda. It is crucial to ensure sufficient participation in order to avoid problems similar to those faced elsewhere. Several countries in the region have been seriously criticized for inadequately involving Civil Society Organisations while rapidly completing their RPP processes.
The pro-poor project and the World Bank recently met with the government focal point to assess progress with the implementation of the road map, and to discuss the organization of a couple of RPP launching workshops. The government of Cameroon wishes to invite resource persons from countries that have already completed their RPP process, in order to share their experiences and generate lessons. The target countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Congo. Resource persons will be invited from these countries to attend the Cameroon national RPP launching workshop. Another outcome of the meeting was that the government does not want to address adaptation and REDD+ mitigation separately, but as components of an overall national effort to tackle climate change.
The role of the pro-poor project now and in the coming months is to give technical support to the government and to work with civil society actors in Cameroon to help influence the national process. We need to work hard to help the government develop and put in place its vision for REDD-plus. At the same time, the pro poor REDD-plus principles have to be mainstreamed, not only within the national decision making process and governance frameworks, but also within the wider community of REDD-plus practitioners and forest management partners.
IUCN’s pro-poor project is funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and is currently implemented in Ghana, Guatemala, Cameroon and Indonesia-Papua.